A prominent rabbi in Washington has been charged with voyeurism for allegedly spying on women performing a sacred Jewish ritual bath in private.
Barry Freundel, 62, of the Kesher Israel synagogue, is suspected of using a video camera hidden inside a clock radio to capture female congregants performing the mikveh ritual at his residence, according to AFP.
The father-of-three pleaded not guilty in the District of Columbia Superior Court on Wednesday. Currently free on bail, he could face six years in prison if convicted.
He is to reappear in court on November 12.
Court documents allege that the hidden camera recorded at least six women, partially or fully naked, as they emerged from a shower or changed their clothes. Three videos date from June 2.
According to the Washington Post, citing a biographical page on the synagogue's website that has since been taken down, Freundel heads the Rabbinical Council of America's conversion committee.
He holds a law degree and a doctorate, and is affiliated with several major universities in the greater Washington area.